Posted by: Kath Usitalo | June 26, 2012

Fisherman Hooks State Record Catfish

The state record flathead catfish (Rodney Akey photo)

On May 22 Rodney Akey lost an alewife but gained a flathead catfish the size of an average 7-year old child. His 49.8-pound, um, beauty, broke a 69-year old state record.

Rodney Akey and his state record flathead catfish (DNR photo)

The Niles, Michigan man was fishing from the shore of the St. Joseph River in Berrien County when he tempted the catfish with an alewife, and after a 30-minute fight reeled in the 45.7-inch long monster.

A Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist confirmed the weight of the catfish, which topped the previous record-holder, a 47.5-pounder Elmer Rayner caught in the Maple River on August 6, 1943.

That’s a lot of fish to fry, but giant specimens of many different species have been pulled from Michigan waters. Here’s a sampling of current state record-holders among the more than four dozen types of fish tracked:

  • Lake Sturgeon: 193 lbs., 87″, caught by Joe Maka Jr., Mullett Lake, 1974
  • Carp: 61 lbs., 8 oz., 47.5″, fisherman Dale France, Big Wolf Lake, 1974
  • Lake Trout: 61 lbs., 8 oz., 49″, landed by Lucas Lanczy, Lake Superior, 1997
  • Northern Muskellunge: 49 lbs., 12 oz., 51″, caught by John Geml, Thornapple Lake, 2000
  • Tiger Muskellunge: 51 lbs., 54″, fisherman John Knobla, Lac Vieux Desert, 1919

(Source: http://www.landbigfish.com)

Catfish nuggets: 

  • The world record flathead catfish weighed 123 lb., 9 oz., and was taken from the Elk City Reservoir in Kansas in May 1998
  • In 1987 President Ronald Reagan named June 25 National Catfish Day to promote “the value of farm-raised catfish”
  • Detroit’s own Better Made Snack Foods company has a recipe on its website for pretzel coated catfish nuggets with honey mustard dipping sauce
  • Catfish does not taste like chicken
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